TikTokers in Montana are not happy with the governor’s new bill that would ban the popular social media app in the state.
Jut a few days after Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law last week, a group of TikTokers has filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that the ban is a violation of their First Amendment rights.
“The law takes the broadest possible approach to its objectives, restricting and banning the protected speech of all TikTok users in Montana to prevent the speculative and unsubstantiated possibility that the Chinese government might direct TikTok Inc., or its parent, to spy on some Montana users,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit also states the ban would “immediately and permanently deprive Plaintiffs of their ability to express themselves and communicate with others.”
If the bill remains, it could serve as a testing ground for the TikTok-free America that many national lawmakers have envisioned. Cybersecurity experts say that it could be difficult to enforce, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers like Gianforte from trying.
In a statement, Gianforte said that he believes TikTok is a “tool of the Chinese Communist Party” and that he is “protecting Montanans from the threat of Chinese espionage.”
But TikTokers in Montana are not buying it. They say that the ban is nothing more than a political stunt and that it is an infringement on their freedom of speech.
“Montana can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting to TikTok than it could ban the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes,” wrote the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
The lawsuit is still pending, but it is clear that TikTokers in Montana are not going to let the governor’s ban stop them from expressing themselves.